Veteran pitcher provides Bulls with post-season experience
Buffalo has never been known for it's baseball tradition, but with experienced players on its roster, one particular Bull expects his team to qualify for its first Mid-American Conference tournament in school history.
Fifth-year senior pitcher Brian Pullyblank is only in his first season pitching with the Bulls, but he brings as much experience to the team as any other player. Pullyblank has pitched for Monroe Community College and Southern Illinois, and earned a bachelors degree from the latter. He is now enrolled in UB's graduate school of education.
There's one thing that Pullyblank brings to this Bulls' team that can be considered a rare commodity for Buffalo baseball: postseason experience.
While at Monroe Community College, Pullyblank pitched in the 2007 NJCAA World Series, where his team finished in sixth place.
"It was really exciting being a part of that team and seeing all of the hard work come together," Pullyblank said. "We worked non stop, we had one common goal and that was to get to the World Series."
The Bulls' goal this season is to qualify for the team's first-ever MAC Tournament. Buffalo has 13 seniors on the roster this year, and with that experience there is no reason why they can't achieve this goal.
"I think we all have a common goal to reach the MAC tournament, cause once you're in the tournament anything can happen," Pullyblank said.
Pullyblank's experience has been on display this season on the mound. He has been used mostly in a long relief role and has made three starts on the season. Pullybank has appeared in a team-high 13 games this season and opponents are batting .238 against him, which is also a team best.
But to Pullyblank, numbers like this aren't what will determine if this season is a successful one: there are team goals that come first.
"[My expectations are] nothing short of making the MAC tournament," Pullyblank said. "It's a 12-team conference and eight teams make it. I consider ourselves definitely a top eight team in this conference, from what I've seen and [from] being around these guys and knowing the kind of talent we have."
Pullyblank will be looking to rub his experience off on his fellow teammates in order to achieve their team goal. He believes that once they're in the conference tournament anything can happen, they just need the opportunity.
"Once you're in that tournament, there's no telling what can happen," Pullyblank said. "[I continue to] try and relay the message to the team, that once you're there anything can happen, but you got to stay focused and actually get there first."
Pullyblank made it clear that, even though this team has never played a game in the MAC Tournament, Buffalo can win if given the opportunity. If a couple of bounces go their way, they can beat anyone in the conference.
"Get a couple hits, you score two runs, you knock off a No. 1 seed," Pullyblank said.
Pullyblank has everyone on the team believing in themselves and that usually is a solid recipe for success.